Emily Dickson Poetry Style Analysis

By Ricky Taylor

Language Style


Emily Dickinson skillfully uses the literary element of personification as to help the reader compare the subject of the personification's actions and the emotions felt by the narrator as a result. This element is one of the many that help readers make deeper connections to the theme and meaning of the poems.

Tone Shifts

In all three of these poems, Dickinson employs shifts in the tone in order to show how the things being said are not always as they seem. The shift makes the theme switch from one thing to a more accurate other. The first poem changes from "'Twas the New Liquor-- That was all!"(I Can Wade Grief, 8-9 ) and " Power is only Pain-- Stranded , thro' Discipline," (I Can Wade Grief, 10-11), showing the change from a happier tone to the more remorse thought that all must struggle to achieve greatness. In the next the tone shifts from sadness of summer's leaving to the understanding that all things must past when saying "The Summer lapsed away-- Too imperceptible at last"(As Imperceptibly as Grief, 2-3) and later when stating "Our Summer made her light escape/ Into the beautiful" (As Imperceptibly as Grief, 15-16). In the final poem, the tone changes from a somber feeling from thinking of her grief at "I measure every Grief I meet"(I Measure Every Grief I Meet, 1) to a happier tone at the end when she gains comfort for not being alone "A piercing Comfort it affords"(I Measure Every Grief I Meet, 35).

Syntactical Style


Caesura is used in almost all of Dickinson's poems, and is employed in order to allow readers to easily understand the emphasis that is placed on certain words and phrases in places where a pause would not normally be used. As this occurs many times in all of her poems, it is a major element that is crucial to the deeper understanding of the topics of Dickinson's poems.

Thematic Paragraph

A common topic in all of these poems is grief, and how it is affecting the author. In each poem, Dickinson is trying to portray the theme that grief can dealt with and that we can learn to live with it. In I Can Wade Grief, the title itself is evidence that grief can be handled and controlled. In the next poem, As Imperceptibly as Grief, the symbol of summer represents the good things that grief has taken from us, saying Summer has "made her light escape/Into the Beautiful." (As Imperceptibly as Grief, 15-16). This ensures that even what our grief has ruined can still be seen in "the Beautiful", which can be interpreted to mean our memories. We can also find things to comfort us in our time of despair, as does the narrator in I Measure Every Grief I Meet by judging the grief of others and is "fascinated to presume/ That Some--are like [Her] Own--". These lines help us realize that there will always be comfort to find, even in our worst times. Dickinson might be trying to tell us this in order to help others with their own despair by giving them examples of how their grief can be dealt with and overcame.